Breast milk and its impact on maturation of the neonatal immune system

Mathilde Turfkruyer, Valerie Verhasselt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of review This article aims to review the evidence that breast milk can actively shape neonate gut immune system development toward a mature immune system capable of responding appropriately to encountered antigens. Recent findings Recent findings in the adult have demonstrated the critical role of the interaction between diet, gut microbiota, gut epithelial cells and gut-associated lymphoid tissue in the development of immune responses. Here, we will review what is known in this field in the neonate, compare these data to those obtained in the adult and review how milk factors impact gut immune function in the short and long term. Summary We propose that the neonate immune system and maternal milk represent an entity necessary to ensure not only appropriate function in early life but also long term immune homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-206
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


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